Nineteen years ago today, Gina Prince-Bythewood's Love & Basketball opened in theaters nationwide. The film starred Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan, childhood friends who fall in love via their passion for basketball. The cast also included Alfre Woodard, Boris Kodjoe, Gabrielle Union and Tyra Banks (remember when she wanted to act?).
Spike Lee was a producer on Love & Basketball and the studio for the film was through his production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks. Prince-Bythewood managed to find an entertaining balance between romance and the complexity of ignoring what has always been in front of you. While Lathan already had roles in Blade and The Best Man, her character in this movie is what made her a favorite.
Love & Basketball would gross over $27 million at the box office. The movie won four NAACP Image Awards, two Independent Spirit Awards and both Lathan and Epps won best actor at the 2001 BET Awards.
So what’s the happs with the cast and crew nowadays? See what some of the film’s biggest names have been up to in the past few years.
The film’s director made her official debut with Love & Basketball and went on to receive producer and director credits on well-known films like Biker Boyz (2003), The Secret Life of Bees (2008) and Beyond the Lights (2014). Most recently, Prince-Bythewood served as creator and producer of the TV series “Shots Fired” and producer and writer for the upcoming Marvel-inspired film Black Cat.
Epps has been in the movie business for over three decades and has been steadily starring in films since Love & Basketball. Most recently, he starred in the Deon Taylor-directed thriller film Traffik. On television, Omar’s been more prevalent as of late, receiving an NAACP Image Award nomination for his role as Immigration and Customs Agent Marty Bellamy in "Resurrection." He also stars as Isaac Johnson on the series "Shooter."
Since Love & Basketball, Lathan has been in dozens of films and television shows. Most recently, she acted in and produced the 2018 film Nappily Ever After and portrayed Trudy Thomas in this year’s Native Son. On television, she appeared in an episode of the Jordan Peele-hosted revival of The Twilight Zone called “Replay.”
If you don’t know what Gabrielle Union’s been up to since Love & Basketball, you’ve probably been living under a rock. The famed actress and model has dabbled in numerous blockbuster movies, critically-acclaimed television shows and has spent a lot of her time in philanthropy, particularly using her voice and influence to combat violence against women. She’s also the author of a 2017 memoir titled We’re Going to Need More Wine. Oh yeah, and she married soon-to-be retired NBA superstar Dwyane Wade in 2014.
Most recently, Kodjoe co-starred on BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood and can currently be seen as Robert Sullivan in the 2019 spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy called "Station 19." But perhaps what Boris has been most known for recently is the diverse appearances he’s made. In just the past two years, he’s done everything from his portrayal of Brett Cole in House of Cards to being himself on an episode of Lip Sync Battle, going up against Nicole Ari Parker in hilarious fashion.
Woodard has portrayed so many roles on the big screen since breaking out as an actress in the 1970s. Starring as Camille Wright in Love & Basketball was nearly the halfway point in her acting career, and she’s been busy ever since. In 2019 alone, Alfre has appearances in at least three films, including Clemency, Juanita and a voice role in The Lion King. She also had a recurring role in the last season of Empire as Renee Holloway.
Yes, many now may think of Haysbert as the Allstate Insurance “good hands” guy, but he was Quincy’s dad in Love & Basketball and has steadily been acting on TV and in movies since that role. He’s been perhaps been best know recently for his appearances in numerous television cop dramas like Blue Bloods, Undercover and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Since Love & Basketball, Morgan’s perhaps been more known for her roles on television that in film. She’s had roles on numerous soap operas including All My Children, The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless. She’s also portrayed Estelle on Power since 2014.
While she didn’t attain the biggest role in Love & Basketball, it’s interesting to remember back when the legendary model wanted to be a bigtime actress. Banks has acted in over a dozen films but has become most known for her presence on television. She’s taken her Top Model brand beyond America to Mexico, Vietnam, Korea, Australia and more. She’s also been an advisor on The New Celebrity Apprentice and America’s Got Talent. Tyra’s remained a superstar and an inspiration to many young women worldwide.
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives / Handout